Learning gets smart and goes phygital in retail


The term “phygital” – a contraction of the words “physical” and “digital” – first appeared in the world of retail circa 2013. The word itself may be an acquired taste, but as a marketing strategy, nobody is doubting the pertinence of the concept. “Phygital commerce” means integrating data and methods drawn from the digital world into the physical point of sale as a means of increasing turnover.

By digitising its point of sale, the retailer seeks to optimize the efficiency of its sales strategy and attract new customers. In practice, this may mean equipping the POS with touch pads offering applications for cross-checking prices in real-time, consulting an interactive catalogue, etc. In addition to offering the retail customer the kind of in-depth on-line search capability that they have become totally accustomed to at home, in-store smart connected terminals can be used to introduce custom 3D design or new product options not yet physically available in the point of sale.
By putting innovative tools and state of the art technologies at the fingertips of the general public, phygital enhances the customer’s overall experience at the point of sale.
The concept of merging the physical and the digital has today been adopted in fields and sectors way beyond retail, including in L&D. The irony is, with “phygital learning”, retail is rediscovering phygital and reaping a whole new set of benefits for the development of personnel in the sector.

Between classroom and distance learning, between physical and digital presence, there is Phygital Learning

Just as retail must be transformed to combine the benefits of physical stores with those of digital services in a fluid purchasing process, training must also adapt to learners’ new needs and habits.
The advent of “phygital” marks a transformation in training to create a resolutely innovative, exciting and engaging learning experience. At Teach On Mars, we are on the cusp of this trend, focused on creating a learning experience that is ever more immersive.
Beyond the blending and integration of face-to-face and remote modes of learning, classroom sessions are enhanced by play-oriented learning activities shared on mobile devices. With the Live! Feature, for instance, the moderator of a session can release a module to the learners present so they can immediately switch to an activity such as a quiz or a battle.

A learning mode proving well suited to learners in the retail sector

One thing’s for sure, in the retail trade the need for training is substantial and very broad ranging. It may be a matter of attuning the sales force to a brand’s new sales strategy. Or a more basic need to induct newcomers into a standard set of sales practices. It could be a question of preparing the ground for a major product launch. Or deploying a management development programme with a longer term perspective.
Whatever the case in point, the target population in this sector will generally be young, more or less addicted to their smartphones and always eager for the latest innovations. The geographical dispersal inherent to the sector and the fact that retail workers often don’t have a fixed professional computer, makes this sector an ideal target for phygital learning programs. In fact, it’s the route for guaranteeing maximum commitment and buy-in from this learning population!
With a personalised and gamified mobile platform, offering a rich and diverse user experience, you also have a chance to compete with the pull of mass market social apps such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Netflix, etc.

Benefits of phygital learning solutions

  • Method adapted to all learning systems that use classroom and distance modes in combination
  • Seamless learning design underpinning a blended array of activities
  • Classroom sessions augmented by interactive activities on smartphone
  • Ongoing monitoring and assessment of progress

How do I set up this type of programme?

Come and test the phygital waters with us at a mobile learning Fablab! Join us any Friday in our Paris premises and we’ll show you how to integrate this concept into your learning programmes. Register here!



About Author

Christopher Martial

Christopher joined Teach on Mars as Account Manager. He makes his experience available to companies to understand their needs, their challenges in order to find together the best solutions.

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